Author: E.E. Cooper
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
This book was given to me by the publisher, Katherine Tegen Books, through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
'Pretty little girls are always believed. Everybody always expects evil to look ugly.'
This book was like Gone Girl for teens--but every bit as creepy, terrifying, and mind-screwing. This dark little mindfuck of a book begins with Kalah, the main character, struggling for her growing feelings towards one of her best friends, Beth. Beth is everything Kalah is not: beautiful, brave, fearless, magnetic. But on the night of Beth's birthday, she disappears, leaving Kalah behind. Certain that something isn't right, she begins to dig into the reasons Beth left. But when she does, her other best friend, Britney, dies in an apparent suicide. Kalah realizes she must discover the truth, even if it means risking everything.
I really enjoyed this book. I loved the way the author told the story from sweet, fragile Kalah's point of view. She was a really relatable character: desperate to fit into a niche, but at the same time, longing to be her real self. Her struggle to fit in with beautiful Beth and Britney really cut me to the quick: Is having beautiful friends worth it, if all they do is cause trouble?
The pacing of this novel was breakneck. Right out of the gate, Cooper's storytelling pulled no punches--I was immediately pulled into Kalah's world of dangerous friendships and frightening secrets. Holy fuck--it almost didn't matter, that I was predicting the mystery as I went on. The creepy thrill of Cooper's writing was enough to keep me on edge. I loved the way she would lay out hints; tantalizing clues that only added to my trepidation.
The characters of this novel were also what sold this book for me: each one was nuanced and complex, often hiding their own dark secrets. Reading Kalah piece together the mystery of her friends' tangled web of lies was an absolute thrill. More often than not, I got chills. Actual chills!
I loved pretty much everything about this novel, but I was hoping for more solid closure at the end. It definitely fit the creep factor of this spine-tingling little gem of a book, but I wish there was more said at the end. The bottom line: A spine-tingling, creepy little thriller, chockful of secrets, lies, and murder, Vanished was wonderfully satisfying, up until the ending. Next on deck: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman! (Rereading in order to prepare for Shadow Scale. :) )
*All quotes are taken from the digital readers' copy I received from Edelweiss and are subject to change.